OTTAWA, November 26, 2020 – Today, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) released an open letter to Métis Nation leaders and citizens across the Homeland in response to ongoing claims and statements being made by the current leadership of the Métis National Council (MNC). This letter, along with a series of facts sheets, sets out the MNO’s history within the MNC, the MNC’s longstanding acknowledgement and support of Ontario Métis communities and the inconsistency and duplicity of the MNC’s recent actions towards the MNO.
“The facts in these documents may not be politically convenient for some, but they set out the Métis Nation’s history—past and present—as well as the history of the MNC’s evolution. The MNC’s current leadership cannot simply ignore facts. Métis Nation citizens need and deserve actual facts so they can make their own informed decisions about these issues. That is what we are providing today.” said Margaret Froh, President of the Métis Nation of Ontario.
In the letter, the MNO outlines how the well-known and recognized Sault Ste. Marie Métis community—whose rights were confirmed in the first and only Métis harvesting rights case to be considered by the Supreme Court of Canada (R. v. Powley)—is now being disparaged and arbitrarily excluded by the MNC’s current leadership.
The MNO emphasizes that if it was the MNC’s position that the only Métis community located in Ontario is in northwestern Ontario, wouldn’t the MNC have objected to the MNO taking a Métis rights test case based on a Métis community located well outside of northwestern Ontario over a quarter of a century ago? Instead, Métis Nation communities and the MNC celebrated, supported and benefitted from the overwhelming success of the Powley case.
“The Powley community, as a part of the Great Lake Métis, along with other rights-bearing Métis communities in Ontario, have been repeatedly recognized by the Métis Nation, other Indigenous peoples, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the courts and the MNC. The MNO has had negotiated agreements with the Crown recognizing these Métis communities going on 16 years now,” said President Froh.
President Froh added, “Now a few individuals are trying to ignore and rewrite history. We will not just stand by and let this happen. Métis Nation citizens deserve better. The MNO is proud of the contributions it has made to advancing Métis Nation rights and building the MNC.”
The MNO also emphasized that it plays the important role of being the “eastern wall” against groups now claiming “Métis” rights in Quebec and the Maritimes. The MNO’s Statement of Prime Purpose first adopted in 1993 confirms the Métis Nation Homeland does not include Quebec or the East Coast.
“We share these concerns about ‘self-Indigenization’ and frivolous ‘Métis’ claims being made in the traditional territories of other nations. However, denigrating the MNO and the Métis community recognized in Powley only emboldens these ‘Métis’ groups. We should be working—together —on these issues, not undermining the credibility of the MNC by taking positions that ignore our shared history.”
If you have any questions we welcome you to email TheFacts@metisnation.org.
Read the entire Open Letter:
Telling Truths about the Métis National Council and the Métis Nation of Ontario
MNO-Ontario Harvesting Agreement and MNO Harvester Card System:
The Identification of Historic Métis Communities in Ontario: